NGT forms 8-member committee to probe Virudhunagar fire incident - The Daily Guardian
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NGT forms 8-member committee to probe Virudhunagar fire incident

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New Delhi [India], February 18 (ANI): The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday constituted an eight-member committee, headed by a former high court judge, to submit a report on the Virudhunagar fire incident last week.
An NGT bench headed by Chairperson Justice A K Goel issued notices to the Tamil Nadu government, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), State Pollution Control Board (SPCB), Virudhunagar District Magistrate, and Sree Mariyammal Fireworks factory.
“The committee has been tasked with submitting a report on the sequence of the events, causes of failure, persons and authorities responsible, the extent of damage to life; human and non-human, public health, and environment, steps to be taken for compensation of victims and restitution of the damaged property and environment, and remedial measures to prevent the recurrence,” stated an official statement.
“The Committee may visit the site preferably within one week and give its report within one month,” the statement added.
A massive fire broke out in a firecracker factory in Tamil Nadu’s Virudhunagar last week leaving at least 19 people dead and another 36 people injured in the incident.
An ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each had been approved from the Prime Minister Office’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) for the next of kin of those who lost their lives due to a fire in Tamil Nadu’s Virudhunagar. Rs 50,000 had been approved for those who were critically injured in the incident.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami had additionally announced ex-gratia amounts of Rs 3 lakhs each to the kin of the deceased and Rs 1 lakh each to the critically injured in the fire incident.
The members of the committee are; Justice K Kannan, former Judge of Punjab and Haryana, and Madras High Courts, the representative of MoEF&CC, representative of CPCB, representative of State Disaster Management, Head of the Chemical Engineering Department of the IIT Chennai, Nominee of Chief Control of Explosives, Nagpur, Nominee of Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization, Delhi, and Chief Inspector of Factories, Tamil Nadu – Member. (ANI)

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Mumbai’s Oval Maidan to be closed from 26 Feb due to spike in COVID-19 cases

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], February 25 (ANI): As the city has been witnessing a rise in the number of COVID 19 cases, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to close the iconic Oval Maidan in Mumbai from February 26, said Chanda Jadhav, BMC Assistant municipal commissioner.
No activity will be allowed in the Maidan in south Mumbai, including sports till further orders.
“BMC to close the iconic Oval Maidan from tomorrow, 26th February due to rise in #COVID19 cases in Mumbai,” said Chanda Jadhav.
The ground is frequently occupied on weekends by cricket and football enthusiasts, however political rallies and religious functions are banned in the maidan.
Maharashtra on Wednesday witnessed a spike in coronavirus cases, with more than 8,000 new cases of infections being reported in a single day after a gap of over four months. (ANI)

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NHRC handicapped without Chairperson, DG Investigation: PIL in SC

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By Suchitra Kalyan Mohanty
New Delhi [India], February 25 (ANI): For the first time in the history of the National Human Rights Commission’s (NHRC) since its inception, the apex human rights watchdog of the country is at present, running without its full strength as it does not have a Chairperson, Acting Chairperson, two members and the Director-General of Investigation.
This was claimed by noted human rights activist and Supreme Court lawyer, Radhakanta Tripathy in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed in the Supreme Court.
Tripathy filed the petition seeking the intervention of the top court to ensure the apex human rights watchdog of the country runs with its full strength.
Tripathy’s petition pointed out the vacancies of Chairperson, two members and Director General of Investigation of National Human Rights Commission as required under Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 as amended in 2019.
“The Commission cannot function without its Chairperson, members and Director General of Investigation,” Tripathy claimed in his petition.
The petition is likely to come up for hearing in the second or third week of March, as per the Supreme Court Registry.
“The NHRC has become handicapped due to the inaction of the government. The negligence, failure and inaction of the Respondents in filling up the vacancies in the NHRC violate Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India,” the petition filed by Tripahty claimed.
This situation has arisen for the first time in the history of the NHRC, since its inception, when there is no Chairperson, Acting Chairperson, two members and the Director-General of Investigation, Tripathy pointed out in his PIL.
The petition of Tripathy contended that Section 3 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 as amended in 2019 prescribes the Constitution of a National Human Rights Commission with a Chairperson and five other members.
Similarly, Section 11 of the Act prescribes for the appointment of a Director-General of Investigation. Section 7 of the Act Prescribes of appointment of an Acting Chairperson in the absence of Chairperson, the petition stated.
The posts in the NHRC have remained empty since Justice HL Dattu retired on December 2 last year as the Chairperson, and Justice D Murugesan retired from the Commission in September 2018, as a member.
A new post for membership has been created by the Amendment of the Protection of Human Rights Act in 2019. The post of Director-General of Investigation has been lying vacant since May 2020, after the retirement of Prabhat Singh, IPS, who retired as Director General (Investigation) in the NHRC, the petition said.
Tripathy, in his plea, also alleged that the non-appointment of a Chairperson, two members, and Director General of Investigation in the NHRC has made it handicapped and dysfunctional in the eyes of law.
“It is, therefore, directly connected with the administration of justice and rule of law, increasing pendency of cases and investigation of serious cases,” the petition said.
Negligence and inaction of the government in not appointing the Chairperson, members and Director General of Investigation of NHRC, in the circumstances is arbitrary, unreasonable and therefore violates Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India, Tripathy said in his petition. (ANI)

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Delhi will face water crisis if Centre closes Nangal Hydel channel, says Raghav Chadha

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New Delhi (India), February 25 (ANI): Delhi Jal Board chairman Raghav Chadha on Thursday said that the national capital will face a water crisis if the Central government stops the water flow by closing the Nangal Hydel channel.
“In summer the water consumption in Delhi has increased, but the Central government is going to stop the water of Beas river for a month by closing the Nangal Hydel Channel. This will reduce 232 million gallons of water per day in Delhi, which is 25 per cent of Delhi’s water supply,” said Chadha.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader also informed that the board has written a letter to the Central Government, Haryana Government and Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) asking them not to stop the water flow from the Beas river
He also asked Gajendra Singh Shekhawat Union Minister of Jal Shakti to call a meeting of all the stakeholders on this problem. (ANI)

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Delhi HC defers hearing to March 26 on petitions related to North East Delhi violence

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New Delhi [India], February 25 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Thursday said that it will hear a batch of petitions on March 26 related to the violence in the national capital in February last year.

A Division Bench headed by Chief Justice DN Patel listed the matter for March 26 and directed the registry to bring on record the reply copy filed by the Centre in a petition filed by a Rahul Roy.

The court was hearing various petitions seeking several directions in the matter.

Around 50 people have died in the violence in northeast Delhi, which ensued after clashes between two opposing factions over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

One of the petition was filed by Lawyers Voice, a group seeking direction to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) and register an FIR against Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Manish Sisodia, Amanatullah Khan, Waris Pathan, Akbaruddin Owaisi and Mehmood Pracha for alleged hate speech.

In a petition filed by Ajay Gautam, it was sought an investigation by National Investigation Agency (NIA) to find out the “anti-national” forces behind the protests in connection with the CAA.

He urged the court to order an NIA probe to find out the role of the People’s Front of India (PFI) which is allegedly “funding, motivating and supporting the protests”.

Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind in its plea sought to set up a special investigative team under either a retired High Court or Supreme Court Judge. (ANI)

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National security no longer limited to military, defense capabilities: Home Secy Ajay Bhalla

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New Delhi [India], February 25 (ANI): Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Thursday remarked that the gap between internal security and external threats is decreasing and that national security was no longer limited to military and defense capabilities.
Speaking at a police K9 seminar, Bhalla said: “You are well aware that in today’s time, national security on all levels has been our highest priority. Earlier, national security was limited only to military and defense capabilities, but now in today’s time it is no longer limited to that. The gap between internal security and external threats is decreasing. Terrorism, drug smuggling and arms ammunition have increased the scope of our internal security.”
He said there are some organisations that operate outside of the country, send money and train terrorists, adding that the scope of internal security of India has widened.
The Home Secretary also highlighted the important role played by soldiers in election duties, citing the recent District Development Council (DDC) elections held in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Apart from ensuring internal security, jawans also play important roles in election duties. Recently, elections were held in Jammu and Kashmir to strengthen the roots of democracy. The DDC polls were held and it was a peaceful election where the public also participated in a good number, while local police Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and the Army played an important role.”
“The voting percentage was good, it means people came out fearlessly to vote. The CAPFs play an important role and the K9 team equally played an important role,” he said.
Lauding the role of the police K9 squad, Bhalla said: “Dog squads help provide support to our efforts. They have been at our side and will continue to remain. They have proved their contribution to defense and security.”
He further said the role of dog squads has been increased at border posts and airports, adding that there has been an effort to promote breeding operations.
“In case of the Police K9, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) has been initiated by the Home Ministry. Earlier, there was no step issued for the evaluation of dog squads. Last year, an SOP was issued for this purpose. The Home Ministry has left no stone unturned in this direction,” he said.
The Home Secretary further expressed confidence in ensuring successful inclusion of the dog squads in the national security teams. (ANI)

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‘Neta’ used to denote respect but now it has become offensive term: Yogi Adityanath

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Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], February 25 (ANI): Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday said earlier the term ‘Neta’ used to denote respect but due to the unruly behaviour of some leaders it has gradually become an offensive term.
While addressing the state assembly on Thursday, Adityanath lashed out at the opposition members who make noises during the session. Yogi said, “If someone thinks that they will be praised if they are unruly in the Assembly and shout in the House, then I think they are mistaken. People don’t take it positively. It is the duty of all of us to set an example with our conduct.”
He further added that before independence, the term ‘Neta’ used to denote respect but gradually after independence it started feeling like an offensive term. “Everyone is responsible for that,” the chief minister said. (ANI)

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